Wilson House – 309 W. Prospect St

Wilson House 1937
Wilson House 1937

The Wilson house is an excellent example of a Craftsman bungalow, designed by a significant Seattle architect, George W. Lawton. Although a simple house, it exhibits such distinctive Craftsman characteristics as gabled dormers, extended rafter tails and a distinctive gabled porch with twin benches.

It was built in 1918 for Carrie W. Wilson, by the contractor H. Gammill. Little is known about Wilson, but it was purchased in 1928 by Lucia Pierce, who appears to have later married Francis Randall, who was in the U. S. Navy. They lived here until 1952.

Wilson House 2004This is one of the smaller works of George Willis Lawton (1864-1928), who came to Seattle from Wisconsin in 1889. He first worked as a draftsman for Charles W. Saunders, and later worked in partnership with him (1898-1915). Among their remaining works from that period are Horace Mann School (1901-2), Beacon Hill School (1903-04) and the Masonic Temple (now the Egyptian Theater, 1912-16). They also designed the inventive Forestry Building (demolished) for the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, and the fair’s Women’s Building, which remains as Cunningham Hall. Lawton later worked with A. W. Gould on his most notable work, the Arctic Building (1913-17). He then practiced independently, during which time he designed this modest house. Lawton died in 1928.

This simple craftsman bungalow has a side gable form with two small gabled dormers on the main (north) façade. Cladding is vertical boards. A gabled entry porch with an arched opening is at the center of the façade. The most distinctive features are the two built-in benches on the porch, giving it the feeling of an inglenook. The front door is flanked by 15-light windows, with a pair of six-over-one windows on each side of the porch. Eight-light awning windows are in the dormers. The roof has extended rafter tails, carved brackets and pointed bargeboards. A small enclosed gabled porch, much lower than the main gable, is at the west end. Doors on the rear (south) open to a deck.

The house was demolished in 2008.